kolkata victoria memorial

48 Hours in Kolkata: Day One

Kolkata was my first port of call in West Bengal, a start to an eleven-day trip covering Kolkata, Darjeeling and Gangtok. I arrived from Kuala Lumpur close to midnight and woke up the next morning to catch the tail end of the Durga Puja festival. In between the festivities, my host Amrita and I planned our activities for the next two days, after which I would head off to Darjeeling. Kolkata is a densely populated city of 14 million, thus there are numerous places to visit and things to do. I’m a heritage buff, so the first thing I always look

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Meeting Goddess Durga in Kolkata

In the previous company I used to work for, I remember the month of October as the month in which my team had a fairly relaxed work schedule. I was working on a business development project with the India office and my team in Kuala Lumpur was never able to contact as many Indian merchants as planned because of the Durga Puja festival. The merchants did not have time to speak to our telephone representatives and in the case of Kolkata merchants, they hurriedly ended the calls and said “I’m very busy now, call back after pujo”. Work literally stopped

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A ‘Bom’ First Impression of Mumbai

I wrote this article sometime last year as soon as I came back from Mumbai, and posted in my blog. Coincidentally, the editors of FlyMe360 Magazine ran a competition to look for contributors on travel writing and I submitted this article which won their Honourable Mention Award. The editors finally published the article for their October edition, and needless to say, I was very excited and pleased 🙂 To view the article and other travel articles featured in the magazine, subscribe to FlyMe360 NOW, click here . In the meantime, here’s the text format of my piece on Mumbai, for easy reading: ***** After

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old goa panaji fountainhas indo portuguese homes

Churches of Old Goa and Panjim

One of the reasons why I wanted to come to Goa was its connection with my hometown, Melaka in Malaysia. The connections or similarities are: Portuguese rule, Portuguese community and St. Francis Xavier. Melaka or Malacca was ruled by the Portuguese from 1511 to 1641. During the 130-year colonial rule, the Portuguese inter-married with the local Malay population, and their descendants are now referred to as Portuguese-Eurasian or “Kristang” in Malaysia. Majority of them are Catholics, and they still maintain Portuguese surnames such as Fernandes, Sequiera, De Souza, Pinto and so on. Although the Portuguese-Eurasians are now living all over

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Anjuna: It Wasn’t What I Expected

After spending 4 nights in South Goa, I was ready to move on to the northern side – Anjuna. Now, I know some of you who have been to Goa – you might be thinking, oh why, Anjuna? In fact, I remember a German traveller who was staying at the same guesthouse as I in Benaulim, was puzzled too when I mentioned about my moving on to Anjuna. Well, I was asking myself the same thing too when I got there. South Goa was paradise – beautiful and clean beach, less people, transport and food were cheaper. And I assumed

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church of holy spirit margao goa inside church

In Pictures: Church of Holy Spirit in Margao

Since it was a Sunday, I thought it might be a good idea for me to go to church and there are no shortages of churches in Goa 🙂 Before I left Malaysia, my Catholic mum kept reminding me to attend at least one mass in Goa and also impressing upon me that there is a Basilica in Goa which houses the relics of St. Francis Xavier (That’s in Panjim). Maybe she was hoping for some miracles to happen in my life! After mooching around on Abade Faria Road photographing Indo-Portuguese mansions, I caught a rickshaw and headed towards Church

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indo-portuguese mansions margao goa portuguese tiles house signage

In Pictures: Indo-Portuguese Mansions in Margao

Margao is the second largest city in Goa, after the state capital city, Panjim. According to Wikipedia, Margao is the administrative headquarters of South Goa, and Goa’s cultural and commercial capital. It may sound like it’s a big city but it felt like a small town compared to the large sprawling cities I had been in India. Or perhaps I made this visit on a Sunday when most shops were closed and not many people were out and about in the city?? Margao is the Portuguese name and spelling but is called Madgaon by Indian Railways, so please take note

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south goa benaulim sernabatim beach boat

Happy that Heaven is Here

I always say “Heaven is Here” whenever I’m at the beach. I love the beach. Love the sounds of crashing waves or rustling palm leaves. Love the feel of sand in between my toes. I don’t mind the hot sun but at the same time I don’t bake myself in the heat either. Have never been a good swimmer but love to dip myself every now and then in the water. Ahhhh…the Beach. It’s relaxing. It’s HEAVEN. Indeed, I came to the right HEAVEN…in Goa. I stayed in Benaulim, South Goa and the name of my accommodation for the following

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Saved by Tricky Sardar

Prior to arriving in Mumbai, I had resigned from my banking job for greener pastures in another company. I was busy with HR resignation documents and handed work over to the pathetic sod who was the reason for my leaving, and preparations for this India trip. I didn’t realise how tired I was from all that physical, mental and emotional stress after 5 days of the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city, and the heady experiences of ancient paintings and sculptures in Aurangabad, I wanted to retreat…and longed to rejuvenate my tired soul by the beach of Goa. I woke

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Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Ancient sites are my thing. I may not know every single historical detail but am always in awe of incredible craft and skill that went into creating stupendous pieces of art. Ancient sites typically have mural paintings, sculptures, stone, marble or sandstone carvings – I just love the intricacies of every curve and detail. I also can’t help but wonder about the greatness of mankind that even in early civilisation, human beings could be as talented and already appreciative of fine art then. During my trip to the state of Maharashtra at the end of Sept, I had purposely made

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